According to a recent survey by the Met Life Mature Market Institute, 83 percent of individuals reaching retirement age do not plan to leave their current residence. Unfortunately, some of these individuals are going to be faced with circumstances beyond their control that will require them to do just that. The good news? Seniors today have many available options when it comes to choosing a retirement community. For some, the type of community selected will be a matter of choice, while for others it will be based on need. There are essentially six types to choose from: Active Adult, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Continuing Care, Alzheimer’s Care and Nursing Care. Let’s take a closer look at each type.
Active Adult Communities
Active Adult Communities include a variety of different dwelling options such as single-family homes, town homes, cluster homes, manufactured housing and multifamily housing. These communities are either age-restricted or age-targeted. Age-Restricted Communities are specifically aimed at persons age 55 and older while Age-Targeted Communities are similar to Age-Restricted Communities except their marketing targets adults age 55 or older but they are not explicitly age-restricted. Leisure Communities are another option designed for empty nesters but without age restrictions.
Independent Living Communities
Independent Living Communities are designed for seniors who are active, healthy and able to live without assistance. They also consist of a variety of housing options in settings designed for independent lifestyles. They are no different from other residential communities except that there is an age restriction (over 55) or an age target.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted Living Communities cater to people who have trouble performing some activities of daily living without help. They are state licensed and designed for seniors who need regular help with daily activities (bathing, dressing, toilet assistance, walking, medication reminders) but who do not need a nursing care facility. Care is available for seniors with some functional impairments, either physical or cognitive. Other services consist of an emergency call system supported by 24-hour security and staff availability, meals served in a common dining room, housekeeping services, transportation, health promotion and exercise programs, medication management, personal laundry services, and social and recreational activities.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing Care Retirement Communities are designed for healthy people who don’t want additional worries about where they are going to live as they grow older and how they are going to cope with potential future illness or the frailty of extreme old age. Once moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community, residency is continued in the same development regardless of health changes at an established unchanging cost.
Alzheimer’s Care Facilities
These facilities specialize in caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. A patient may start off in an assisted living facility in the early or mid-stages of the disease, but due to its progressive, degenerative nature will most likely need more care as time goes on. Frequently, assisted living facilities have a separate Alzheimer’s unit but when this isn’t the case, after the onset of advanced dementia, the patient would need to be transferred to a facility equipped to provide the required care.
Nursing Care Facilities
There are two types of nursing facilities associated with residential facilities. There are intermediate care facilities which provide custodial and intermediate care, and skilled nursing facilities, which provide custodial, intermediate, and skilled care. Custodial care is non medical care that includes around-the-clock supervision, as well as assistance with personal needs such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, toilet assistance, and mobility. Intermediate care provides basic medical care. Skilled care provides more intensive medical care.
As you can see, Seniors have many options when it comes to choosing a retirement community. While some choices are driven more by need than desire, at least we can take comfort in knowing there are so many options and levels of care available. And those reluctant to embrace the idea of giving up their pre-retirement home should be made aware that it’s not only possible to live independently, but that independence can co-exist with the conveniences, amenities and peace of mind many adult active and independent living communities have to offer.